Patient Stories

Patient stories from Sutter Health’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland and Berkeley, California

Your Child’s Back-to-School Health and Safety Checklist

Posted on Aug 14, 2015

Back-to-school health and safety checklistTo get the school year off to a safe and healthy start, Lisa A. Hills, M.D., Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation pediatrician, recommends:

  • Annual physical exam: Your pediatrician will discuss your child’s height, body mass index, vision, hearing and blood pressure as well as discuss sports-related issues with student athletes and important emotional/behavioral issues with and teens.

    Lisa A. Hills, M.D., Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation

    Lisa A. Hills, M.D. Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation

  • Vaccinations: Check to see if your child is missing any required immunizations. Also ask about immunizations that are recommended but not required, such as the flu vaccine.
  • Emergency contact information: Your child’s school should have up-to-date emergency numbers, including the contact information for you and your pediatrician as well as a list of your child’s medications, physical impairments and medical conditions.
  • Child passenger safety: Buckling children in age- and size-appropriate car seats, booster seats and seat belts reduce serious and fatal injuries by more than half.
  • Pedestrian safety: Children 9 or younger should always cross the street with an adult. The safest place for your child to cross the street is at a street corner or intersection. At any street crossing, before stepping off the curb, your child should stop and look left-right-left to see if any cars are coming.
  • Backpack tips: Carrying a backpack shouldn’t be a workout for your child. Pack the bag as lightly as possible, with heavier items in the center compartment. The load should never be more than 10% to 20% of her body weight. Backpacks with wheels are a good option.
  • Hand washing: Prevent the spread of germs at school. Teach your child proper hand washing technique: Rub hands together with soap under warm running water for at least 20 seconds. Remind your kids to cough and sneeze into their sleeves and send them to school with antiviral hand gel to use frequently.
  • Sleep schedule: A lack of sleep can negatively affect school performance. Be sure to get your kids on a regular sleep schedule. Limit nighttime TV, video games, cell phone chats or anything that prevents your child from getting a good night’s rest.

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Ask the Expert: Are You at Risk for a Urinary Tract Infection?

Posted on Jul 29, 2015

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Jonathan Lynne, M.D., MPH, Family Medicine, Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation

Q: I’ve heard urinary tract infections (UTIs) are getting harder to treat. Why is this and who’s at risk of developing one?

Jonathan Lynne, M.D., MPH, answered:

UTIs are one of the most common infections doctors treat: More than half of women living in the United States will get a UTI. Urinary tract infections are caused by microorganisms—usually bacteria—that enter the urethra and bladder, causing inflammation and infection. UTIs are more common in women because women have a shorter urethra than men do. That means bacteria travel a shorter distance to a woman’s bladder. Read More

Ask An Expert About Endoscopic Ultrasound

Posted on May 26, 2015

Vinod K. Kurupath, M.D.

Vinod K. Kurupath, M.D.

Vinod K. Kurupath, M.D.

Gastroenterology

Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation

I have been diagnosed with a digestive disorder and I may be a candidate for an endoscopic ultrasound. What are the benefits of this procedure?

 In conventional endoscopy, the gastroenterologist can only view the innermost lining of the digestive tract. Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) allows a doctor to get very close to the gastrointestinal tract, pancreas, liver and gallbladder and look beyond the inner layers. Read More

Identify a Stroke by Acting FAST

Posted on May 2, 2015

Spot a StrokeWhen you’re not feeling well, it’s natural to think that taking a nap will fix the problem. However, when it comes to stroke, a nap won’t help. In fact, it might hurt because not recognizing a stroke in time can have deadly results.

Stroke’s telltale signs — weakness on one side, difficulty speaking, blurred vision and facial drooping — often are misunderstood. That can lead to a delay in seeking emergency medical treatment.

Improving stroke outcomes through knowledge

“Stroke is a silent disease that typically comes on suddenly and many people may not readily recognize the symptoms,” says Debra Blanchard, R.N., Stroke Center coordinator at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center. “Without being aware of the risk factors for stroke, it’s easy to be taken by surprise.”

The most common risk factors for stroke include: diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, previous strokes and irregular heartbeat. By learning about stroke and its risk factors, you can talk to your doctor and then take steps to reduce your chance of suffering from stroke.

Are you ready to act FAST if stroke happens?

Everyone can recognize stroke. FAST is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke. When you see the signs, call 9-1-1.

FAST is:
Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
Time to Call 9-1-1 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.

“Family members are often the ones who will pick up subtle changes in speech and language the quickest,” says Blanchard. “They need to act on this detection and to do it FAST!”

Alta Bates Summit’s Regional Stroke Center Earns Top Honors

The regional Stroke Center at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center was recognized in 2014 as a recipient of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines ® Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award and the Target Stroke Honor Roll Award for improving stroke care.

The awards acknowledge the hospital’s commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations.

To receive the Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award, Alta Bates Summit’s Regional Stroke Center attained at least 85 percent compliance on all Get With The Guidelines ® Stroke Quality Achievement indicators for two or more consecutive years and achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with six of 10 Get With The Guidelines ® Stroke Quality Measures.

Visit: www.suttereastbay.org/stroke to learn more.

Ask An Expert About Nurse Practitioners

Posted on Apr 27, 2015

Sarah Noble, MSN, FNP

Sarah Noble, MSN, FNP

Sarah Noble, MSN, FNP

Nurse Practitioner, Obstetrics and Gynecology

Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation

Q: My Ob-Gyn’s office recently added a nurse practitioner. Can you tell me more about their qualifications and what they do?

A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who has advanced education and training in the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic medical conditions, disease prevention and the promotion of health wellness.

Nurse practitioners must complete a master’s or doctoral degree and receive additional medical training beyond their initial training as a registered nurse. Read More

Ask an Expert About Heartburn and GERD

Posted on Mar 26, 2015

Wilson S. Tsai, M.D.

Wilson S. Tsai, M.D.

Wilson S. Tsai, M.D.

Medical director of esophageal and thoracic surgery

Sutter Health’s Eden Medical Center

Q: I take medication for my heartburn, but lately it isn’t as effective. Why do I keep getting heartburn and what else can I do to relieve the symptoms?

A: Imagine a room in your house is on fire and the alarm goes off, but instead of calling 911, you remove the batteries from the annoying alarm.

Patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) who take medication to ease heartburn are essentially shutting down their bodies’ alarm system.

Drugs work great for symptom control, to decrease acidity in the stomach. But in many patients, they mask the real problem.

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